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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tom Holland's "Origins Of Islam"

This is a very educating talk by Tom Holland about the origins of Islam. Tom Holland is the famous English historian and writer. He was educated at Queens College Cambridge where he obtained a double First in English and Latin. 

I find the talk informative and useful. 
Exceptthe question and answer session. He messes up on 'jizya'. 

I am out of time.  I hope to comment on this later.

Especially for Muslims, this video will be a useful 45 minutes.


Link :

"Radical Sunnis Greater Threat Than Shias" By Eric Paulsen

The following opinion piece is reproduced entirely from The Malaysian Insight. It is written by Eric Paulsen. Syabas to both Eric Paulsen and The Malaysian Insight for writing and publishing this well thought article. 

I have just highlighted some parts in yellow, placed indentations or numbers to highlight some other points. 

My comments are in blue and some more comments are after the article :

SOME 14 months after Amri Che Mat’s disappearance, his case appears no closer to being resolved.

(OSTB : The general 'saya tidak peduli' attitude towards this case is glaring.)

An ongoing inquiry by Suhakam has prompted a verbal back and forth between Norhayati Ariffin, the victim’s wife, and Perlis mufti, Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, with the latter accusing Amri of propagating Shia Islam and, therefore, a threat to national security.

(OSTB : This is a stupid statement by Asri. ISIS which is sponsored and armed by Turkey's Erdogan is the real threat to national security. But ISIS terrorists in Malaysia  are not abducted and made to disappear. They are arrested and brought to trial or some process of law. Abducting and making someone disappear is not justifiable under any circumstances.)

In a recent interview with Free Malaysia Today, the mufti brushed off Amri’s disappearance before slamming the spread of Shia teachings in Perlis and neighbouring Thailand. 

Asri even made the incredible claim that Perlis Hope, the charity run by Amri was working towards establishing a theocracy. Quite how the mufti made the leap from being a Shia to establishing a theocracy in Malaysia is never explained.

However, such an exaggerated claim on the dangers of Shia and other activities perceived to be a threat to Islam (in particular proselytisation of other faiths to Muslims), and by extension “national security”,
  • reflects the sinister implications that can be derived from the authorities’ lackadaisical attitude in investigating Amri’s disappearance and other similar cases namely, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth Hilmi, and Pastor Raymond Koh. 
  • People in this day and age simply should not vanish into thin air without a trace, and the nonchalance displayed by the police force in investigating these cases is extremely worrying.  
  • That eyewitness reports and in the case of Koh, irrefutable CCTV evidence, indicate professionals with the assets and training to abduct people without fear of being traced should concern all Malaysians.

Upon reflection, the mufti’s view, unfortunately, is largely reflective of the authorities’ harsh attitude towards Shia Islam, and this has led to dire consequences for its believers in Malaysia.

Shia deviants

In Malaysia, Shia Islam is deemed as “deviant” from mainstream Islam (only the official variant of Shafie school of Sunni Islam) by the federal and state religious authorities, and this is reflected in the religious laws, fatwa, publications and sermons.       

Under Article 11(4) of the federal constitution, in respect of Islam, laws may be passed to control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine among Muslims. 

By virtue of a 1996 fatwa by the National Fatwa Council, Shia teachings are declared to be haram. Under the various state Islamic laws, Shia gatherings have been subjected to raids and arrests, books and other paraphernalia seized, and in some cases, believers charged with criminal offences.

Foreigner Shias are also not spared – as recent as October 2017, some 200 Iraqi Shias were detained by the Selangor religious authorities for taking part in a religious ceremony to celebrate Ashura, and they were only freed following pressure from Iraqi authorities.

Due to this continued persecution, statistics on Malaysian Shia believers are hard to come by, estimated at around 250,000 by the Home Ministry in 2013, a minuscule number compared with the wider Sunni Muslim population in Malaysia.

The Shia-threat-to-national-security narrative as described by Asri is nothing more than an ugly exaggeration, albeit one that stems from a larger historical and sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, it continues to be propagated with an Islamic scholar even proclaiming Shia Islam to be a bigger threat than the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Southeast Asia during a conference in November 2017.

The vitriol flung at Shia Muslims flies in the face of more pressing security concerns that have enveloped the region. With the fall of their caliphate in Syria and Iraq, experts have warned that IS may adopt a more decentralised brand of terrorism as they struggle on defiantly.

Western countries, such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have already seen first-hand, the radicalisation of home-grown terrorists, the fear is there will be a successful attack soon on Malaysian soil.

IS and the real threat to national security
If Asri is truly concerned about the state of national security in Malaysia, he may be best served by reflecting on the inflammatory nature of his comments, and how they feed into the long-running narrative that oppresses a tiny community in Malaysia, and indeed in other more extreme parts of the world, for example, in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to Joseph Liow, senior fellow of Brookings Institution, the number of Malaysian IS fighters, when adjusted according to population, is actually higher than Indonesia.

Similarly, according to Pew Research in 2015, a higher percentage of Malaysians (11%) have a “favourable opinion” of IS when compared with Indonesians (4%).
  • IS remains the biggest terror threat for Malaysia. 
  • Their ideology remains appealing to radicalised Malaysians
  • and they are continuing to attract recruits – 
  • this much was recently confirmed by counter-terrorism chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.

Within Southeast Asia, IS affiliates have been digging in. For more than five months last year, the city of Marawi in Mindanao was decimated in a siege as Philippines security forces and their allies fought the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups, both of which had pledged allegiance to IS in earlier years.

Reports throughout the year indicated that there were Malaysian nationals present among the ranks of the terrorists, a new twist to the already established trend of Malaysians travelling to Syria and Iraq to join IS previously.

That there is a genuine security threat to Malaysia is clear but it does not come from Shia Muslims. The security threat instead comes from radicalised Sunni Muslims who are drawn to extremism, to Salafi-jihadi ideology – and possessing a willingness to support or take part in terrorist activities in order to advance their religious goals.

There must be greater vigilance and a serious policy rethinking as Malaysia continues to count the number of terror suspects arrested and the number of terror plots foiled.

It is not inconceivable that spurred on by the bogeyman created by their own leaders, and with a misguided desire to protect their religion and way of life, radicalised Sunni Muslims may one day, be inspired to wage hostilities against Shias right here in Malaysia. – February 19, 2018.
* Eric Paulsen is the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

My comments :  Well said Eric Paulsen.  However I have some other views about some of the points here.  ALL these religious sects, whether Sunni, Shia, Wahabi / Salafi, Tablighi, Soofy etc have the eminent potential to become extremists and radicals. 

ISIS is a clear example of Sunnis becoming mad. 

But let us not forget that in Shia Iran the government does not allow new Sunni mosques to be built in Teheran. This has been a big complaint by Sunni Arabs who inhabit parts of Iran like Khuzestan. 

Let us also not forget that in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and other places BOTH Sunnis and Shias are prepared to kill each other or are already killing each other.

My suggestion is the discussion should center on how to make Sunnis, Shias etc LIVE IN PEACE with each other and not blow each other into pieces.

Here I would like to draw the example of very successful countries around the world who score very highly on the Islamic Index when it comes to religious freedom, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among religions.  These are the real islamic countries.

They tolerate both Sunnis and Shias and make sure the Sunnis and Shiahs live in peace inside their country.

Examples are Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, France, all of Europe, all of North America, Central America and south America etc. Even India should be counted.

There is no Sunni - Shia fighting in Sinagpore.  The Singaporeans will arrest your ass and throw you in jail if you even threatened a fight between Sunnis and Shias.

The same in the United States, Australia, Canada or Europe.  If you are Sunni / Shia and you threaten violence or pick a fight with a Sunni / Shia then they will arrest you and throw you in jail.

  • In other words, these countries are really Islamic. 
  • They do not force anyone to believe any particular religion or sect. 
  • They do not officially (aka legally) label anyone as deviant or  heretic.   
  • They do not have any laws that can punish any human being for following any one particular sect or religion.
Your religious belief is a personal matter. Your religious belief is no concern of the State or the government.

Hence it has been proven for a very, very long time that Shias and Sunnis can coexist peacefully with each other ONLY in Europe, UK, USA, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea etc. 

When I was living in the United States, Shias used to attend the Eid prayers in the Sunni mosque because the Shias were too few there and they did not have their own mosque.  The Sunnis did not complain.

In Australia both Shias and Sunnis coexist peacefully.  

There are marriages between Shias and Sunnis in these countries.

In Iraq, Shia and Sunni have long intermarried with each other, especially during the time of Saddam Hussein. (I dont know about now).
  • Shia and Sunni believe and read exactly the same Quran.
  • Shias and Sunnis say assalamu alaikum to each other.
  • Shia and Sunni both perform the pilgrimage to Mecca.
  • Shias and Sunnis pray beside each other.
  • Shia and Sunni food are halal for each other.
  • Shias and Sunnis can marry each other.

The problem arises when the countries are majority Sunni,  majority Shia or Salafi controlled.  

Then their  ruling governments or the ruling powers begin to  favour either Shias or Sunnis, as the case maybe.  

Plus they enact laws or implement administrative rules that discriminate against the minority Sunni or minority Shia sect, whichever the case may be.

So Pakistan is Sunni majority. Hence they discriminate against the Shias. 

Saudi Arabia is a "psycho" majority. They discriminate against Shia, other Sunnis etc.

Iraq is now Shia majority. They are beginning to discriminate against the Sunnis.

Syria is Sunni majority but ruled by a Shia minority. Syria has been destroyed.

So wherever there is a Sunni majority or Shia majority, they discriminate against the other minority sects, different from theirs.

In Europe, UK, USA, Singapore, South Korea, Japan etc
  • where they have no religious laws, religious rules at all 
  • where everyone is guaranteed freedom of religion and 
  • where the State will arrest and throw in jail anyone who threatens religious violence or performs any act of religious violence 
we find that the Sunnis and Shias soon learn to live side by side with each other and live in peace with each other.  

They even pray in each others mosques (as in the US) and marry each other (as in Iraq under Saddam). 

So if a Sunni is seen as a threat to a Shia or a Shia is seen as a threat to a Sunni, that simply means you are stupid. Bodoh. Kaum DNA bahalol. 

Bukan saja tak cukup belajar tetapi tak cukup akal. 
Asah punya asah akal dia tumpul juga. 
Otak dia sampai banyak tu saja. 
Bodoh tetap bodoh. 
DNA sudah corrupted. 
DNA sudah bahalol.

So I would like to address this to the Home Ministry, the MKN etc. If you wish to guarantee peace between the Shias and Sunnis, there is ONLY ONE WAY AND NO OTHER WAY.  


  • where there are no religious laws, religious rules at all 
  • where everyone is guaranteed freedom of religion and 
  • where the State will arrest and throw in jail anyone who threatens religious violence or performs any act of religious violence  
This is a tried and tested, proof of concept,  proven way to avoid religious conflict.

Take religion OUT of the public sphere.
Take religion OUT of government and administration.